Trying to settle on what to get your friend for Christmas? If you know them well, odds are you’ll see a big smile when they tear into that box. But if you have zero clue as to what their interests are, the best you can do is cross your fingers and hold your breath.

As humans, we’re made up of our own ideas, behaviors, motivations, and desires. What we wear, the foods we eat, and what color we decide to paint our bedroom walls are all individual choices that make up the algorithm that is you. You like certain things, and people that know you well (like your family) understand what makes you tick.

Past marketing tactics haven’t catered to the real person behind their appearances and demographics. Instead, elements have been woven together with arbitrary methodology that is ultimately blind to personal wants and desires. An example of this is demographic targeting, which hones in on black-and-white data such as age, race, population, income, and location. Using campaigns centered around this information, products and advertisements are thrown out like bait to fish in a barrel, hoping for bites.

But if we’re comparing people to fish, they are extremely picky fish. One will loathe the color orange vehemently, and another will be so infatuated with the sunny hue that nearly the entirety of their home’s interior is donned in orange fittings. Another example of this is the age-old question for men: Boxers or briefs? An underwear company won’t know which specific undergarment to market to individuals based on their income, and a consumer’s physical location won’t be of any service in this realm either.

It’s proven to be quite clear that demographics don’t define an individual. And this is why personally-tailored behavioral targeting is in, and demographic targeting is out.

What Exactly is Behavioral Targeting?
Behavioral targeting is a way for businesses to genuinely reach their target audience. User’s web browsing behavior, including purchasing behavior, is collected and analyzed, allowing marketers to formulate advertisements and promotions that their audience would have a strong interest in. Some of the data collected includes:

  • Previously searched terms
  • Previous purchases
  • IP address and geolocation
  • Content read
  • Pages and/or products viewed
  • Length of time spent on websites
  • Searches within website
  • Websites users have visited
  • Ads and content the customer interacted with
  • Other information about actions taken

Knowing exactly how and when to leverage this data to hit specific marketing goals is necessary for effective behavioral targeting. By implementing this tactic, companies are turning over a new leaf by giving the customers what they’re already looking for instead of using every trick in the book to try to convince them to buy their product.

What is Demographic Targeting?
Using demographic targeting, companies will segment out people into groups based on their gender, age, location, parental status, annual income, and more. The basis is that members in these groups share common traits, and as such, advertisers will run campaigns loaded with different variables that cater to these traits. This type of targeting is shown to reduce the number of unnecessary views and affords the opportunity of connecting businesses with more meaningful audiences.

While this avenue has been more effective than blind marketing, demographics smear a colorful individual into black-and-white subsections. The full scope is lost. Precise marketing depends on a rich and kaleidoscopic picture.

Why is Behavioral Targeting Better than Demographic Targeting?
The problem with segmentation is that it completely wipes clean groups that have the potential to be interested in your products. Demographic targeting helps in that it would prevent maternity clothing being advertised to teenage boys, but what about narrower specifics?

What basic demographic data tells us is—not much. It’s superficial information that doesn’t give marketers a clear window into customers’ desires, issues, or what makes them excited or angry. Businesses that understand the root of behaviors—and how to cater to those behaviors—don’t just earn customers for a day, they can earn them for a lifetime.

To “ad” to that, consumers are surrounded by ads. No matter how much they want to look the other way, from the street to the screen, there’s no escape. And if this is the case, the advertisements may as well be something you’d prefer to look at, right?

That’s exactly what the statistics are saying. Customers actually prefer and appreciate marketing that uses behavioral targeting tactics rather than having to scroll through demographic targeted ads, which are less apt to serve their interests. It’s a win for consumers, and one of many wins for businesses. Here are a few more common ways that behavioral targeting is good for business.

Behavioral Targeting Means More Clicks
If a particular advertised product caters directly to your needs or interests, the result is simple: you’re more likely to interact with that advertisement by clicking on the product. Stale, generalized banners tailored to a large mass of eyes can still have an effect, but not nearly as substantial. And this isn’t speculation—when implementing behavioral targeting, businesses have seen their click rates soar.

When targeting with web click data rather than untargeted broadcast emails, open rates rise from 20 to 33 percent, and click-through jumps from 9.5 to 14 percent.

Conversions Galore With Behavioral Targeting
Higher product appeal means the consumer has a higher probability of buying the product, leading to an increased chance that the customer will complete the purchase. By implementing effective behavioral targeting methods, companies can watch as conversion rates tick upwards and sales increase—but it doesn’t stop there. From this point, people are more likely to blossom into loyal, repeat customers.

Behavioral Targeting Means a More Interested, Engaged User
Because behavioral targeting makes user data and habits accessible to marketers, they’re able to forge a stronger connection based on specific interests. With this type of targeting, customers feel a greater sense of trust and attachment to the company, leading them to more actively engage with content on the company’s website.

One-click ads based on demographics rather than behavior are essentially a guessing game less likely to generate consumer alliance. And behavioral targeting can not only lead the user to a website, but it can also accumulate further data about what the customer does on their own website, making it feasible for the company to generate hyper-targeted ads for that customer in the future.

Behavioral targeting is the marketing of the future. With it, businesses understand their customers and their needs better, and customers would rather be shown what they want to see.

Are you ready to start marketing to an audience that genuinely wants to see what you have to offer? Partner up with the marketing whizzes at Cilver Marketing.